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Turkey denies Russia observation flight in framework of Open Skies Treaty

Turkey has denied the Russian Federation an observation flight over its territory that was to be held within the framework of the Open Skies Treaty, a senior Russian Defense Ministry official said Wednesday.

Sergey Ryzhkov, chief of the ministry's department for control of implementation of treaties, recalled that the flight was to be held above Turkey on February 1-5, 2016 on board an An-30B aircraft and "no preliminary conditions or restrictions for Russia's surveillance flight were voiced by the Turkish side."

"The route supposed, among other things, observation of areas adjacent to the Syrian border and airfields where NATO aircraft are concentrated. But after the arrival of the Russian mission in Turkey and the announcement of the planned route of the observation flight, the Turkish military denied the opportunity to conduct it citing an instruction from Turkey's Foreign Ministry," Ryzhkov said.

"In this way, as a result of violations of the requirements of the Treaty and unconstructive actions on the part of Turkey, a dangerous precedent was created of an uncontrolled military activity of an Open Skies Treaty member state," he said.

"We are not going to leave without proper attention and relevant reaction violations of the Open Skies Treaty on the part of the Turkish Republic," Ryzhkov said.

On Tuesday, the Defense Ministry official told journalists that another Russian group of inspectors should conduct an inspection in a Turkish region within the framework of another international treaty - the 2011 Vienna document on confidence and security building measures.

Russian inspectors are to visit ranges and get briefed by the Turkish military units command.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 03Feb16]

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